Garrett and Kristy Thienes, owners and operators of the Harvest Eatery & Fresh Market located in Shaunavon, took home the coveted award for Rookie of the Year. Awarded to those operators who have “demonstrated innovation, ingenuity, hard work and perseverance to establish a strong, viable and successful new business in the tourism sector.”
“As amazing as it feels to have won, much of the credit goes to my lovely wife Kristy,” said Chef Garrett “Rusty” Thienes after receiving the award. “She’s been the one that has worked to raise our profile, create our marketing campaigns and really brought the customers in, and once they are in the door, we work as a team, to make sure they leave satisfied that they didn’t just have a meal, they’ve had an experience.”
Offering a new concept in relaxed gourmet dining in SW Saskatchewan, this creative husband and wife collaboration brings an inspired dining experience to the intimate rural setting of Shaunavon.
Featuring a menu focused on fresh, seasonal and locally produced ingredients, Harvest Eatery offers a wide range of gourmet dishes in an upscale setting, including a 30-seat patio during the summer months and a range of assorted live music and local artist events held throughout the year. It’s not just a dining establishment, it’s rapidly becoming the cultural hub of the southwest and a destination all its own.
The evening’s second big winners were Jori Kirk and Nick Coburn of Cypress Hills Eco-Adventures who won both the Online Marketing Award and Business of the Year Award (Under 50 Full-Time Employees). Coburn and Kirk are both former Climax residents.
Despite this being the third consecutive year the company has been acknowledged at the annual Awards presentation, having won the Rookie of the Year Award in their inaugural 2011 season and the Tourism Ambassador Award in 2012, the thrill of winning has not yet dissipated for the young entrepreneurs.
“The award ceremony was very exciting,” says co-owner Jori Kirk. “Tourism Saskatchewan did an amazing job putting it all together.”
“It was also great to see our colleagues (Harvest Eatery) from the CHDA be recognized and rewarded for all of their work.”
“For me personally, I’m not sure it has all sunk in yet,” adds Kirk. “Being selected by our peers to receive these awards during the biggest night for tourism in our province is something to celebrate. It is a testament to all of our zip line guides who have poured their hearts and souls into this business each summer and who have helped to make Cypress Hills a fun place to play.”
Says CHDA Executive Director Gail Kesslar, “Seeing these two amazing businesses gain the recognition they deserve from their peers in the Tourism industry made for a very exciting evening.”
“We are very fortunate in the CHDA to have this caliber of entrepreneurs operating throughout the region,” added Kesslar. “Entrepreneurs who, like Eco-Adventures and Harvest Eatery, are not afraid to step outside of the box to present to tourists a Saskatchewan they wouldn’t expect. As the region grows and more and more people discover the many great businesses and organizations that operate within the Cypress Hills Destination Area, I’m certain you’ll be seeing both of these businesses, and other CHDA members, back up on the podium in the future.”